At last evening’s Annual General Meeting, the Grey Bruce Health Services Board of Directors thanked four outgoing Directors for their years of service, and welcomed two new members to the Board. The following Board members are retiring from the Board: Ron Goldsmith (9 years), Gayle Robinson (7 years), Brenda Kearney (9 years), Roger Boyer (1 year).
Two new members with extensive government, leadership and health services experience were appointed to the Board. Janice Lace is a consultant and former director at Homewood Health Centre in Guelph, which is one of the country’s largest mental health and addictions facilities. Janice is a current surveyor for Accreditation Canada. Jessica Hill is a past CEO of the Ontario College of Family Physicians, and a former Deputy Minister of Children and Youth Services. She also served as an Assistant Deputy Minister in various provincial departments.
The Board also took time to acknowledge the tremendous amount of work undertaken during the pandemic to protect patients and staff. “On behalf of the Board, we are extremely proud of staff, physicians and volunteers who, for the past year and a half, have continued to deliver high-quality care while protecting our patients and each other from COVID-19,” said Board Chair Paul Sinclair.
Some of the notable accomplishments in the past year related to the pandemic include:
- Caring for 70 inpatients with COVID-19 to date, many of them from the GTA, and some from Winnipeg
- Establishment of a temporary COVID assessment centre, plus a permanent facility in Owen Sound
- Establishment of assessment centres/testing capacity at three rural hospitals (Wiarton, Lion’s Head, Southampton)
- Expansion of beds across the organization to accommodate COVID-19 patients, and allow GBHS to re-align staff to support critical care, including a 10-bed Transitional Care Unit in Meaford
- Construction of a 75-bed portable Field Hospital
- Roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine program for staff (71% have both vaccines)
Despite the focus and attention devoted to responding to the pandemic, many other initiatives were implemented in the past fiscal year and deserve recognition:
- Launch of a new Mental Health and Addictions Counsellor Service to support patients in the ED
- Installation of a new MRI in Owen Sound
- Hiring of 5 new physicians across our communities
- Construction underway of the brand new hospital for Markdale
- A record $5.1 million for capital purchases was raised by our five Foundations
- New GBHS transportation system to transport non-urgent patients between GBHS facilities set to launch
- Development of a Clinical Services Plan to ensure each of our hospitals meets the healthcare needs of the communities they serve
- Numerous capital projects underway, including a $1.5 M renovation to our laundry department, and purchase of six new x-ray machines for all hospitals
Looking ahead the Corporation is planning for increased patient volumes across program areas, and more severe illness due to elective surgeries that had been delayed during the pandemic. Staffing shortages are also looming, and human resource planning is expected to be a challenge in the very near future.
“It has been a difficult year for many individuals in our communities, including our staff who have been impacted at home and at work by COVID,” said GBHS President and CEO Gary Sims. “We won’t forget the personal sacrifices people had to make, and we will honour those who have not survived by continuing to do everything we can to end this pandemic.”
To read the full GBHS Annual Report, click here.